“Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk

“Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk

Miranda Galbraith

Annabelle is a quiet young girl growing up in Pennsylvania during WWII. While she is aware of the war and her family does their part to contribute to the effort, she is mostly unaffected by it. She and her two younger brothers go to school nearby, walking there each day, and doing chores around their family farm when they are home. Life is easy for Annabelle and her brothers. Until Betty moved into her grandparents house.

Betty is an unhappy girl, full of malice and spite. She immediately targets many of the kids at the school, including Annabelle, and focuses her torture on them. Annabelle feels that she can handle what is happening to protect her brothers, but it soon escalates out of control.

Toby is a wanderer. He was a WWI veteran, and since his return has not felt like he has a place. He walks the hills the area, taking photos of anything that catches his eye.

All of these characters find themselves irrevocably connected, and with the help of her parents, Annabelle intends to sort things out and make those around her see people as they really are.

While not a happy book per se, reading this left behind feelings of hope and endurance. The characters face hard things, but together they see it through and are able to continue on with life. Annabelle is a strong character, and while she does a lot of introspection about life, she also isn’t afraid to take action when it is needed and stand up for herself and others. It’s easy to see why this won the Newbery Honor award, along with being nominated for several other awards.

Professional Reviews:

 “Echoing the tone and themes found in To Kill a Mockingbird…Annabelle’s astute observations of the Philadelphia woods and the people who populate Wolf Hollow  will resonate with many readers as they present a profound view of a complex era tinged by prejudice and fear.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “The spare but hauntingly beautiful language paints every early morning walk to school, household chore, emotion, and rational and irrational thought in exquisite detail…  Perfectly pitched to be used in classrooms in conjunction with To Kill a Mockingbird.”—Booklist, starred review

★ “[Wolk] realizes her setting with gorgeous immediacy, introducing the culture of this all-white world of hollows, hills, and neighbors with confidence and clear-eyed affection. Trusting its readers implicitly with its moral complexity, Wolk’s novel stuns.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “The tension builds and never lets up. The storytelling here is dignified and the tone is memoir-ish, because Annabelle is remembering the story in the past…The portrait of Betty, an unredeemed sociopath, pulls no punches, and Toby is a nuanced and poignant character, an unlikely hero.”—The Horn Book, starred review

★ “The narrative is powerful, complex, and lifelike…Thematically, this book raises some of the same issues as To Kill a Mockingbird, but with social status rather than racism as the basis for injustice…VERDICT: Highly recommended for purchase; a truly moving debut.”—School Library Journal, starred review

★ “Lauren Wolk’s nuanced and nerve-wracking middle-grade debut takes a close, dark look at how dangerous it is to make assumptions of guilt or innocence based on appearances—and how telling the truth and standing up against injustice are essential, even if the wrongs are not always righted…Wolk has a clean and poetic way with words and her story is finely crafted, haunting and unlikely to be forgotten.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Braced” by Alyson Gerber

“Braced” by Alyson Gerber

Miranda Galbraith

Rachel wants nothing more than to be a great soccer player, and she works hard to improve her skills, practicing almost every day with her two best friends. But she has one little secret she’s been hiding, and now she can’t keep it to herself any longer. She has scoliosis, and it’s progressed to the point that she needs to wear a back brace 23 hours a day. How will she play soccer? And what will her friends say? Will they even be her friend after they find out? And what about the other kids at school?

Rachel deals with a lot of emotional and physical pain as she goes through her treatment. Her mother also had scoliosis and had to have surgery and she is worried Rachel will end up needing surgery too. Her father spends most of his time working. Rachel has to learn to communicate with her parents and her doctors to tell them what she needs and show them she is her own person with her own life and desires.

Friends and boys are also a huge concern for Rachel. What if no one likes her because she has to wear her brace? Will they make fun of her because of how she looks? And most importantly, is she going to make the soccer team?

This is a great book about relationships, communication, and standing up for yourself. The characters are well written and realistic, and there are plenty of emotional connections made. Rachel is a great main character, and readers of all ages can relate to some of what she is going through, but this is a perfect read for those ages 12-14.

 

Professional Reviews:

“A masterfully constructed and highly empathetic debut about a different kind of acceptance.” —Booklist, starred review

Prepare for the Apoc-Eclipse!

Prepare for the Apoc-Eclipse!

Want to have extra books and movies on hand so you can relax at home, but worried about needing to return them during the chaos?

As a courtesy to our patrons, no items will be due August 16th through 28th.

Check out what you need now and don’t worry about needing to return them until after the crowds go home.  (One week items – like DVDs – checked out prior to August 9 will still be due before the eclipse.)

Also, we will be closed Saturday, August 19th, and Monday, August 21st.

Learn more about our eclipse events!

“Amid Stars and Darkness” by Chani Lynn Feener

“Amid Stars and Darkness” by Chani Lynn Feener

Miranda Galbraith

Delaney Grace is just a normal girl, living in a world where aliens have recently revealed their presence. They are very similar to humans in nature, but far more advanced in technology. Delaney’s best friend Mariana is obsessed with these alien races and spends a lot of time learning about them. Now she’s on her way to her first blind date, with Delaney as her wing man.

Unfortunately, while Mariana is busy with her new conquest, Delaney runs into trouble and ends up kidnapped by the Vakar and taken to their world. Now she must play the part of the missing alien princess to avoid intergalactic war. Which would be so much easier if everyone wasn’t trying to kill her. Everyone except her own royal guard, Ruckus, that is. Soon they are feeling their own sparks, but as Delaney wants nothing more than to return to her own planet, will it be for naught?

While some of the characters were little more than stereotypes, for the most part they were believable and engaging. The world Feener has created here is one that lends itself to many adventures to come. Can’t wait to see the rest of this series, and whatever else she comes up with as well.

This is a great new sci-fi romance, perfect for fans of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. Fair warning though – this leaves readers with an awful cliffhanger ending, so be prepared to wait anxiously for book 2.

“The Beast is an Animal” by Peternelle van Arsdale

“The Beast is an Animal” by Peternelle van Arsdale

Miranda Galbraith

Atmospheric and eerie, The Beast is an Animal is a tale of power and suspense, prejudice and fear. When the village is faced with hardship, the blame is placed upon twin daughters, born to the farmer who lives at the edge of the forest. In order to save them from death, the farmer moves his wife and daughters into the forest, promising to bring them back when the village is more prosperous. Over the years, he comes to visit less and less, and soon the girls find themselves alone, living in the forest. And becoming part of the forest, something new, yet old. Something terrifying. And they are set to take revenge upon the village that cast them out.

In the village, Alys is the only one awake when the sisters come, and she alone is left to discover the carnage they leave behind. All children were spared, and a traveler sends word to a neighboring village of their plight. But all is not well, as the new village does not accept these children as their own, and they are left outside the Gate to defend the town. Can they fight off the evil lurking in the forest? Or will the sisters finally get their prey? Only Alys stands between life and total destruction.

This was a great read. The writing was very descriptive, pulling the reader into the setting and creating tension and suspense. I recommend it for fans of gothic tales as it had much the same feelings of oppression and impending doom.

“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab

“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab

Miranda Galbraith

In this fantasy series, instead of one London, there are four: Black, Red, White, and Grey. Each London had it’s own magic source, and travelers could move freely between the different cities. Now that has changed. Many years ago, the magic of Black London overcame its people, and that city was sealed off to protect the other three. The results of that action was to create three very different cities that only a few people can travel between. Red London still has its amazing power source and is full of magic. Grey London lost all access to magic and has forgotten about its existence. And White London, the barrier between Black London and the others, has become corrupt and overrun by tyrants. All of this was accepted and stable until Kell, the traveler for Red London, makes a horrible error in judgement, sending him on a life and death adventure. Along the way, he meets Lila, self-proclaimed pirate and street thief. Can this mismatched pair save the world?

This book has so much going on. A strong hero and heroine. Plenty of action and suspense. And a unique premise that really makes the reader think.

I loved what Schwab did with the parallel cities and how they could interact. The world building was well done and everything was explained nicely. Lila and Kell are awesome characters, each with their faults and strengths. Can’t wait for book 2 of this series to see what happens next!

Professional Review:

“Schwab (Vicious) creates an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons in this imaginative, well-crafted fantasy. Confident prose and marvelous touches-a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine-bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

2017 Teen Top Ten Nominees Announced!

2017 Teen Top Ten Nominees Announced!

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations were posted on the Thursday of National Library Week, April 13, 2017, and teens across the country will be able to vote on their favorite titles each year.

Readers ages twelve to eighteen can vote online starting in August and lasting until Teen Read Week™ (October 8-14, 2017) on the Teens’ Top Ten site. The theme this year is ‘Unleash Your Story.” The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week.

View a list of the winners with annotations here. (PDF)

How many will you read?

“Illuminae” by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“Illuminae” by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Miranda Galbraith

Written through IM, email, and classified reports, this book tells the story of Kady and her fight to save her ship (and maybe her very recently ex-boyfriend, if she can swing it). When her mining outpost is attacked by a competitor, only a few thousand people make it to the three ships fleeing for safety. Those ships head for the nearest location with a transport portal, more than six months away. They are stalked by the enemy, a well armed attack vessel. Throw in a twist with a rogue AI and a killer virus, and this makes for one great story.

When you read a 600 pg book in 1 day, you know it was good! I loved These Broken Stars, and this has that same feel to it. The uniqueness comes in the style it was written in, including the wonderful pages with the ships flying through space. It also includes schematics of the ship and the distance the characters have to travel in order to make it out alive. All of this works together along with the text itself to create a great visual story. If you enjoy this one, book two, Gemina, is also available (and just as fantastic). Book three should be available late 2017.

Professional reviews:

 “Hints of romance and references to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey interweave with the text, itself an arresting visual experience that weds form with expression and content.”
–Booklist, starred review

 

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